Columbus Crew v. Chicago Fire: Notes and Grades

USA TODAY Sports

The Crew didn't play poorly, but they didn't play well.

Another defensive breakdown and another loss.

  • It wasn't a terrible performance, but again it was little slips here and there that did the Crew in. Even after going down, the Crew had 13 shots.
  • Josh Williams is struggling in central defense. He had his ups and downs last week, but he paid for two slip ups this week. With not much depth behind him, he will have to adjust quickly.
  • Chad Barson overcommitted and left Joel Lindpere free to cross into an unmarked Dilly Duka. He then played off Lindpere and gave his three yards of space to whip in the cross that Magee finished.
  • Matias Sanchez and Danny O'Rourke are a very good midfield pairing for Columbus, unless one of them loses their temper and gets carded. This time it was Sanchez and the Crew won't have him next week.
  • Sanchez and O'Rourke compliment each other's styles well. Both are tenacious tacklers, but O'Rourke's ability to stay in the right spots allows Sanchez freedom to roam. That didn't happen on Saturday. THey both sat in parallel as two holders.
  • Federico Higuain again roamed to work from sideline to sideline in an effort to pick up the ball. He wasn't as effective when he had to move so much.
  • Unlike last week, Higuain couldn't rely on his wingers as much. Jairo Arrieta naturally pinched in and played high like a forward on the wing and Bernardo Anor wasn't nearly as dangerous cutting in as he was last week.
  • Dominic Oduro's speed creates issues. He earned a PK, but was also fouled 7 times as the Fire tried to stop his quick counterattacks.

Gruenebaum (5): Left with little chance to stop any of the shots.
Barson (4): Failed to track Lindpere on the first goal and didn't pressure on the second.
Williams (3): Lost track of Duka on the first goal as if the Crew were in a zonal marking scheme and just was out hustled by Magee (not for the first time on the night)
Marshall (5): The only solid spot in the back line.
Wahl (5): Acceptable defense, wasn't the problem along the Crew's back line collapse.
O'Rourke (5): Rarely put a pass wrong and did well to keep Chicago moving in the middle.
Sanchez (5): Active on defense, but anger got the better of him as he took himself out of next week's game as he barked until he got a yellow.
Anor (5): Quiet most of the game aside from his volley.
Higuain (6): Played well most of the night except for when he pressed when the Crew first went down a goal.
Arrieta (5): Looked better in the second half when he pushed higher, but certainly looked like a fish out of water in the first half.
Oduro (6): Another excellent steal. Perhaps sold the foul a bit for the PK.
Schoenfeld (5): Solid in the air and a good option as a target forward.
Meram (NR): Little time to make an impact.
Coaching (5): Losing Speas late forced an interesting lineup shift and perhaps Schoenfeld should have entered sooner, but the bigger error was failing to pull off Sanchez when it was clear he had lost discipline.

Note on Grades: I have set 5 as an average performance. The player had both good and bad events on the field. Under 5 is a disappointing performance. Above 5 is a notable performance.

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